Cruising fit for the Gods
The purpose of this review is not to document Europa's facilities and nautical statistics as nowhere is this better done than in Douglas Ward's 2013 guide to cruising and cruise ships. Nor is it my intention to describe our ports in detail as this has been done in an article in the recent edition of Cruise International whose deputy editor was on board our cruise. Rather I wish to explain why after three cruises with my family on Europa I believe that she deserves her Six Star rating. Spacious Ship - Europa is a very spacious ship. She weighs in at 28,000 tonnes but only carries 400 guests in 200 outside suites. Many ships of that size would carry atnleast 800 passengers. There are therefor no queues for embarkation, buffets or competition for deck chairs! Service - The staff are impeccably trained in all aspects of catering. They remember your name and preferences and seem to be able to anticipate your wishes before you do! They also speak excellent English and seem able always to say yes. Style and sophistication. The ship is very understated and by no means glitzy.The standard of dress (staff and passengers) is impeccable but not over the top. Safety - because of the small number of passengers you never feel that if there were to be an emergency you would panic. The safety drills are carried out in English and German before each cruise starts and you gain the impression that safety is taken very seriously by the crew. Given recent events that is important for families with young children especially. Star Quality - Europa really scores here with ultra attention to detail. No sign of any plastic chairs or glasses, paper napkins, etc here. Fresh flowers everywhere. Everything is done properly. Real champagne for gala events and at breakfast. Fine caviar served properly with mother of pearl spoons, truffles, foie gras, fresh fish. The nine or t'en course Europa restaurant menu is never repeated. Over the last three years standards have increased rather than declined as with very many other lines. Summary - this is cruising at it's very best. It was Johann Wolfgang von Goethe who said that perfection is for the Gods and for humans to strive for. This is as near perfect as cruising gets at least in this world PS We have already booked our fourth cruise on Europa for later this year so that says it all, I suppose.
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